YAL - Young Adult Literature Presenter Unit 2012/2013



Highlighted Strategy

One of the strategies highlighted in this YAL Conference workshop is Observation, an experiential activity that sets the stage for scientific thought and observational record keeping. We will look at some of Darwin's notebooks as another model for keeping a notebook and for inspiration. 

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The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
by Jacqueline Kelly


YAL Presenter Unit 2012/2013

Subjects: English
Grade Level: 8th, 9th
Posted: 2012, CCSS, Common Core State Standards
Unit Created by: Germania Solórzano and Theresa Dzoga-Borg

What makes this a good YAL choice...

Calpurnia Tate is a young girl who bristles against the gender roles of her time. She isn’t interested in knitting or sewing, but she finds the natural world around her fascinating. Her curmudgeonly grandfather is an amateur naturalist and he mentors her in this occupation. The book is told from Calpurnia’s point of view, and it is Calpurnia’s observations of the world around her, both the natural world and the social world that make the book interesting. Because Calpurnia keeps a notebook of her observations, the notebook became a natural focus for the unit. This could be an excellent text to start the year off in a science classroom, with students learning about scientific observations, or even a literature classroom with students learning about all the many writers, artists, scientists, and inventors who kept/keep notebooks as part of their work. Calpurnia’s immersion into the naturalist’s world is an example of one of the Academic Mindsets discussed in the Chicago Consortium’s report: I belong in this academic community. (Even though she was not doing this work in an academic setting, she was aware that scientists, like Darwin, did this kind of work, and she set out to model that scientific behavior.) — Germania Solórzano


YAL Conference Workshop Description & Documents
Modeling the Scientific Method: Observations on The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
Germania Solórzano and Theresa Dzoga-Borg, Presenters

In The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, Jacqueline Kelly paints a charming portrait of a budding young naturalist, Calpurnia, learning scientific procedures and habits of mind from her grandfather. Keeping a scientific notebook, carefully observing the world around her, and asking questions are part of Calpurnia's character. These habits are also the habit of a scientific mind. In this workshop we will use The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, to set the stage for scientific thought and observational record keeping. We will look at some of Darwin's notebooks as another model for keeping a notebook and for inspiration. We will look at the procedures that Calpurnia and her grandfather followed and engage in a hands-on scientific activity. — Workshop Description for YAL 2012


Unit Template


Lesson Plan


Lab on Plant Chromatography


Web Resources - Darwin's Writing - http://darwin-online.org.uk/


Field Notes on Science and Nature, edited by Michael R. Canfield


Agenda from YAL 2012 Workshop


Unit Template Blank Form